May 2008

IZA DP No. 3484: The Emerging Aversion to Inequality: Evidence from Poland 1992–2005

published in: Economics of Transition, 2010, 18 (1), 1–26

This paper provides an illustration of the changing tolerance for inequality in a context of radical political and economic transformation and rapid economic growth. We focus on the Polish transition experience, and explore individuals' self-reported attitudes. Using unusually long and frequent (monthly) representative surveys of the population, carried out by the Polish poll institute (CBOS) from 1992 to 2005, we identify a structural break in the relationship between income inequality and subjective well-being. The downturn in the tolerance for inequality (1997) coincides with increasing distrust of political elites.